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I listen to relax and sleep

“My name is Jenny Hutchinson and I am pod-cast junkie”. It's true, I am the type of fanatic who knows what pod-casts come out which days of the week and if I am not digging the new listen of the day, I search relentlessly for new pod-casts. If all else fails then I listen to old favorites. I like pod-casts because they relax me and get my brain going. I can listen and learn while I do just about anything so it is the best of both worlds.

All of this is quite ironic because I remember years of eye rolls and complaining along with my siblings and mother about how my father listens to talk radio. We would say critically “how does he listen to this stuff”, “it's so boring”… and here I am filling my days with hours of talk radio's new form. It really began as a child, I suppose, I struggle to stay asleep and tend to wake up constantly through the night. When I was little my parents got me a little red tape recorder and some story tapes, I had Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, and my favorite Peter Pan. I would turn on of those tapes and listen until I fell back asleep, often waking to rewind it and listen again. To this day I can still hear the voices of the different characters and remember the whir sound the tape would make as I re-wound it or forwarded it to my favorite parts.

I'm not sure when I stopped listening to my tapes but I remember listening to CD's in college while I slept, and later my amazing studio-mate in grad school first introduced me to the world of pod-casts. He often thought he was bugging me with his findings and would apologize but I truly connected with it. Thanks to the invention of the smart phone my obsession to full form. Re-iterating what I've learned from all my various pod-casts has become part of my daily conversations and I again often listen to pod-casts to relax or fall asleep. My mind is constantly busy with thoughts and the only way I can get the internal conversation to shut up or slow down is if I give it something else to think about.

Lately, I found a couple in particular that have really moved me to the point where I even downloaded the books of the authors being interviewed along with the accompanying audio. I just needed to hear more, below is a passage from one-

“Our brains are attuned to the deep structure of the world in extraordinary ways that we cannot grasp and when it comes to beauty, our perception of reality, our perception of the physical world, each of us is born to become accomplished (if unconscious) practitioners of geometry. Routinely, without thinking about it, humans do astonishing feats… they interpret these messages coming through little openings in their eyes and project it on a two-dimensional screen, on the retina at the back of the eye. From there the light gets turned into an electrical signal and from that crazy, scrambled encoding we reconstruct an external world of three-dimensional objects in space. We recognize that if we move our head we still see the same objects and we determine this effortlessly. We do a job which is literally impossible, we use all kinds of tricks and rules to guess what the external world is and sometimes it is wrong...but basically in most circumstances we do this remarkable feat of reconstructing this three dimensional world from two dimensional information that's all scrambled up with things on top of each other and in most cases we take these eyes for granted” - Frank Wilczek, Noble Prize recipient in Physics

The reason why I find this passage so moving is for years this is the exact idea that has informed what my art is fundamentally been about. For years I have said “what essentially I am trying to talk about and explore are metaphysics and the actual physics of perception but I am not by trade a philosopher or scientist, I am an artist”. My experience of the world is expressed visually, more comfortably without words, without fully constructed descriptions, without an exact set of measurable principles. My art is inspired by the very act of seeing and visual interpretations our brain creates.

I am obsessed with the deconstruction and reconstruction of shape, I am consumed with the creation of color, and I am educated about the properties of how our brain and eye link to create a vision of the physical world but am endlessly inspired by its nuances.

Kayaking is amazing research because our perception of the physical world is completely transformed by water. Subtle movements impact so much, a single drip of water from my paddle, creates the most perfectly round ripple that will continue to break across the surface until it meets a larger movement or other object. Light reflects an image of what is on land with slight alterations in shape and color depending on the angle of sunlight, the wind, and the depth of the water. The angle of sunlight and how it effects color endlessly fascinates me.

I am obsessed with transitions of day, I observe and watch how the angle of light alters the color of a surface. The most beautiful colors are visible these times of day- sandy walkways are a spectrum of blues and purples, trees depending on their age and type of leaves become contrasting shades of chartreuse and poppy orange, every color is turned on its edge enriched by unique particularities. These colors only exist at that moment and may not repeat itself in the same way it had the day before.

These extraordinary color combinations are what constantly inform my palette and color choices. Great painters are consumed with the properties of light and how pigments can transform a surface. The mind trickery of color by definition of design, is that our perception of a color is altered and informed by the color(s) that surround it. That is why one may have difficulty deciphering the difference between your dark blue and black socks. It is why one person may call the same shade of a color purple and another may determine it is pink. These perceptions of color not only determine our physical reality but also effect our mood.

(image on left, work in progress of image on right)

Until next time, these are just a few of the many thoughts I have been exploring and observations I find inspiration from. I am ending this post a bit abruptly because my body is telling me I have reached pumpkin time, I am heavy and tired and though I have expressed difficulties with staying asleep my body has no trouble falling asleep. In fact, I am a bit famously able to sleep just about anywhere and I do not need it to be in my studio at my desk.

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